Lady Cowboys face tough challenge defending league, district crowns

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MEEKER I Returning as the Northwest League and district champions and losing several players to graduation will make it tough for the Meeker High School volleyball team to defend its titles this season, but head coach Christy Atwood is looking forward to the challenge.
“We have five seniors this year and all of them played varsity ball during the regular season and in the postseason last year,” Atwood said of this year’s team leaders. “We have experience; it’s just getting the younger girls used to league play.”
Stacey Fitzgibbons, Gabie Goettel, Timbre Shriver, Morgan Neilson and Devon Buckendorf, all seniors, will lead the Lady Cowboys in their final high school season. More than 40 girls are out for the team and many of them gained valuable experience during the offseason.
“We had great participation this summer,” Atwood said. “We went to three tournaments and played 34 varsity matches (a regular season consists of 19 matches). We had three teams play in Rangely and Parachute.”
Meeker started two-a-day practices last week before school started in preparation of a scrimmage Saturday.
“We had a great week of practice,” Atwood said. “We did preliminary skills testing and I’m excited to get started this week.”
Atwood, starting her fourth season at the helm, will continue scheduling against larger schools, beginning with a scrimmage against 4A Moffat County and 3A Grand Valley on their home court.
“We try to play up as many times as we can, so the girls can get a taste,” Atwood said.
Atwood expects Rangely to be the team to beat in the league but hopes her team will also be close to the top at the end of the season.
“Although Rangely lost a lot to graduation they have a good core of sophomores and juniors coming back, but I don’t want to count ourselves out either,” Atwood said.
Kelcee Vroman and Roxy Chintala will assist Atwood with the coaching duties again this year, Vroman working with the junior varsity and Chintala coaching the freshmen.
Meeker opens the season Friday at Glenwood Springs.